As Google Voice Opens For All... It's Hit With Patent Infringement Claims
from the it's-all-in-the-timing dept
It's difficult to see how there's much of a claim here. The patent was filed for in September of 2009, but is a continuation patent (ah, that old trick again) of another patent filed on February 9, 2007. The problem? Well, in October of 2006, I attended the DEMO show with a bunch of other reporters and investors, and we all got to see GrandCentral demo its technology that does pretty much exactly what's described in the claims in the patent. Google didn't acquire the company until July of 2007, but it's difficult to see how the 2006 demonstration of the technology shouldn't be seen as prior art that invalidates the patent. Of course, it would have been nice if the patent examiner on the case had bothered to look around and find such prior art, but apparently that's too difficult these days.
Oh, and if you want to see how continuation patents are abused, you can check out the original patent application, which focuses on something quite different than the eventual patent. It's much more about switching calls from one line to another. It's only in the later patent (not filed until well after Google Voice was widely established in the market), that Frontier made the patent sound a lot more like what Google Voice actually does.